Working with kids can be very entertaining and rewarding, especially if you pay close attention to the details, because they certainly do. Despite their fidgeting and tangential storytelling, children are sponges that often absorb much more than you realize. Yoga only reinforces their natural tendency towards mindfulness and attention to detail.
Over the summer I was teaching kids yoga at a summer program. I was wearing Toms shoes and I noticed that one of the little boys was also wearing that brand. I pointed it out to him but didn’t get much of a reaction. Before we entered the studio, we all took off our shoes and left them outside the studio, and I took mine off first and went in to start the class. A few minutes later I looked back at the line of shoes and noticed that the boy had placed his own Toms neatly on either side of mine.
Another kids yoga teacher who I work with had been teaching at a certain school for a while and she always used lavender essential oil mixed with water in a spray bottle to spritz the kids’ hands at the end of class. I began using the same technique and later took over her teaching job at the school. The first time I used the spray there a little boy who had been taking yoga with the other teacher sniffed his hands and exclaimed, “It smells like yoga!”
Occasionally a new little yogi will just sit quietly on his or her mat instead of participating, probably due to shyness or unfamiliarity with the routine. But inevitably the child’s parents will report that the same child started doing down dogs and saying “namaste” all the time at home.
So you see, children observe and retain so much of what goes on around them. By paying attention ourselves to their surroundings and purposefully placing them in positive environments, we can foster this natural tendency and create a better generation for the future.